In the Comprehensive Expenditure Report 2012-14, CER, published in December last year, I set out the various elements of the Government's medium-term expenditure framework. A key element was the introduction of ministerial expenditure ceilings, which are three-year allocations of current expenditure to each Minister. The Ministers and Secretaries (Amendment) Bill 2012, which was published on 28 September, will when enacted provide the legislative change necessary to put these ceilings on a statutory basis.
The Government took account of a wide range of often competing considerations and policy priorities to decide on the balance between priorities in setting these parameters. The CER set out the main results of this process, while the individual papers produced by Departments give more detail on the analysis underpinning the final ceilings. These papers are available on my Department's website.
The ceilings published in the CER form the basis upon which the detailed 2013 expenditure allocations are being decided by the Government. The precise composition of the 2013 budgetary consolidation will be set out in the budgetary statements on 5 December. In this context, the aggregate levels of expenditure are split by reference to ministerial Votes and the detailed disbursement of the resources within their allocations is a matter for each Minister in accordance with overall agreed Government policy.
It is my intention to undertake a comprehensive expenditure review process every three years. However, I do not intend that the role of evaluation should come to a halt in the years between these large-scale formal expenditure reviews. Rather, the new public spending code introduced by my Department will ensure that ongoing evaluation becomes an integral part of expenditure policy.
The role of evaluation was further enhanced by the introduction earlier this year of the Irish Government Economic and Evaluation Service, IGEES. The work of the service will support each Department in evaluating policy and expenditure options.
I draw the Deputy's attention to the new whole-of-year budgeting process that is currently under way. I discussed it with the Deputy at the committee meeting. All Dáil select committees have the opportunity to participate in the annual Estimates process in an ex ante fashion with Departments. This process introduces an important new dimension of accountability that will enhance the role and the policy relevance of the select committees.